I'm reading a fascinating article right now that I may well svithe again, if it weighs as heavily on my mind next week as it has been this weekend. But it's so late now, I'm just stealing one quote, which originated here.
- We are so verbal, especially in the Protestant tradition, that it's hard for us not to imagine prayer either as monologue, in which I tell God things and God listens, or as a conversation in which I tell God things and God answers back. But from what I understand out of the ancient monastic materials I work on, prayer is really an entire relationship, and the verbal part is only one element. A lot of what we learn when we pray is to be quiet. We need to stop thinking that a relationship is constituted only by language. The closer we get to other people, and the better our friendships are, the more silence these relationships contain. The people we talk to all the time are probably the people we don't know.terribly well and whom we don't trust. The issue is not so much "Does God talk back and if so how?" but whether we can learn just to be in God's presence.
She has a pretty good point. Prayer is more than address-thank-pray-close, or can be. How do we arrive at prayers that move beyond the limitations of our human vocabularies?